How To Start A Business Of Growing And Processing Wheat, Rice, Or Oats

Produce grains that Africa imports so far: Grow and process wheat, rice, or oats!

An important fact is that countries like Nigeria import millions of tons of rice, oats, and wheat each year; most of it arrives from the West and Asia. In fact, in 2013 alone, Nigeria spent roughly $1 billion to buy wheat from the USA. You will find that this is a common trend in many other African countries.

Tanzania is one of the few that produces a rice surplus. As recently as September 2014 it did not quite know what to do with it, until Congo said it would buy the rice. And this is why it is a profitable venture to tap into. Take oats, for example, which are widely available in the West for breakfast cereals and baby food. You just need to go through shelves in Africa‘s cities to realize it‘s either not available or only affordable for the really well-off. A package of simple muesli in a Nairobi middle-class supermarket can cost as much as $5!

Grains are staple foods because they are the world‘s most widely-consumed food. A large proportion of Africans depend on grains like corn, wheat, millet, and rice for their daily energy needs because they are easy to produce and cheaper than most of the other foods. They can also be stored for long periods. Apart from its use as human food, more grains are increasingly used in the production of animal feed, beer, industrial-grade starch, sweeteners and ethanol.

Business Concept

There is a range of business concepts available to you depending on the niche you would like to exploit in the grain value chain. The opportunities here span across growing the grains, processing, packaging, and branding. You can choose to focus specifically on one of these or take on several aspects of the value chain.

Niche Ideas

Growing rice

Grinding and branding rice millet powder for baby porridge

Growing and processing oats – packaging and branding. Varieties could include breakfast muesli.

Bread production

Top Countries & Policy Guidance

Growing grains will work anywhere in Africa.

Action & Tips

Contact the local farmers‘ association and the Ministry of Agriculture to receive more data and information about the opportunities and challenges. Speak to farmers, traders, and retailers in your country of choice to get a more reliable picture of the market trends and demand for the popular grains.

Instead of joining the league of farmers who are growing traditional grains, you could consider growing a crop that is not available locally but is highly in demand.

Consider national markets and intra-African trade, which is fast on the increase, when thinking about how to market your product.

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